Health Benefits of Moringa

Moringa oleifera is a plant, which is often called the drumstick tree, the miracle tree, the ben oil tree, or the horseradish tree.

Moringa has been used for centuries due to its medicinal properties and health benefits and has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Facts on Moringa:

  • The tree is native to India but also grows in Asia, Africa, and South America.
  • Moringa contains a variety of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Moringa oleifera has few known side effects.
  • People taking medication should consult a doctor before taking moringa extract.

What is in Moringa?

Moringa oleifera
Moringa has medicinal properties and contains many healthful compounds.

Moringa contains many healthful compounds such as:

  • vitamin A
  • vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin), B-6
  • folate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
  • calcium
  • potassium
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • zinc

It is also extremely low in fats and contains no harmful cholesterol.

What are the benefits?

Moringa is believed to have many benefits and its uses range from health and beauty to helping prevent and cure diseases. The benefits of moringa include:

1. Protecting and nourishing skin and hair

Moringa seed oil is beneficial for protecting hair against free radicals and keeps it clean and healthy. Moringa also contains protein, which means it is helpful in protecting skin cells from damage. It also contains hydrating and detoxifying elements, which also boost the skin and hair.

It can be successful in curing skin infections and sores.

2. Treating edema

Edema is a painful condition where fluid builds up in specific tissues in the body. The anti-inflammatory properties of moringa may be effective in preventing edema from developing.

3. Protecting the liver

Moringa appears to protect the liver against damage caused by anti-tubercular drugs and can quicken its repair process.

4. Preventing and treating cancer

Moringa extracts contain properties that might help prevent cancer developing. It also contains niazimicin, which is a compound that suppresses the development of cancer cells.

5. Treating stomach complaints

Moringa extracts might help treat some stomach disorders, such as constipation, gastritis, and ulcerative colitis. The antibiotic and antibacterial properties of moringa may help inhibit the growth of various pathogens, and its high vitamin B content helps with digestion.

6. Fighting against antibacterial diseases

Due to it’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, moringa extracts might combat infections caused by SalmonellaRhizopus, and E. coli.

7. Making bones healthier

Moringa also contains calcium and phosphorous, which help keep bones healthy and strong. Along with its anti-inflammatory properties moringa extract might help to treat conditions such as arthritis and may also heal damaged bones.

8. Treating mood disorders

Moringa is thought to be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

9. Protecting the cardiovascular system

The powerful antioxidants found in Moringa extract might help prevent cardiac damage and has also been shown to maintain a healthy heart.

10. Helping wounds to heal

Extract of moringa has been shown to help wounds close as well as reduce the appearance of scars.

11. Treating diabetes

Moringa helps to reduce the amount of glucose in the blood, as well as sugar and protein in the urine. This improved the hemoglobin levels and overall protein content in those tested.

12. Treating asthma

Moringa may help reduce the severity of some asthma attacks and protect against bronchial constrictions. It has also been shown to assist with better lung function and breathing overall.

13. Protecting against kidney disorders

People may be less likely to develop stones in the kidneys, bladder or uterus if they ingest moringa extract. Moringa contains high levels of antioxidants that might aid toxicity levels in the kidneys.

14. Reducing high blood pressure

Moringa contains isothiocyanate and niaziminin, compounds that help to stop arteries from thickening, which can cause blood pressure to rise.

15. Improving eye health

Moringa contains eyesight-improving properties thanks to its high antioxidant levels. Moringa may stop the dilation of retinal vessels, prevent the thickening of capillary membranes, and inhibit retinal dysfunction.

16. Treating anemia and sickle cell disease

Moringa might help a person’s body absorb more iron, therefore increasing their red blood cell count. It is thought the plant extract is very helpful in treating and preventing anemia and sickle cell disease.

Side effects

Moringa plant dried and powder
Although Moringa may have very few reported side effects, a healthcare professional should be consulted before it is taken.

Anyone considering using moringa is advised to discuss it with a doctor first.

Moringa may possess anti-fertility qualities and is therefore not recommended for pregnant women.

There have been very few side effects reported.

People should always read the label on the extract and follow dosage instructions.

Risks with existing medications

Some of the medications to be particularly aware of are:

  • Levothyroxine: Used to combat thyroid problems. Compounds in the moringa leaf may aid the thyroid function, but people should not take it in combination with other thyroid medication.
  • Any medications that might be broken down by the liver: Moringa extract may decrease how quickly this happens, which could lead to various side effects or complications.
  • Diabetes medications: Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar, which moringa also does effectively. It is vital to ensure blood sugar levels do not get too low.
  • High blood pressure medication: Moringa has shown to be effective at lowering blood pressure. Taking moringa alongside other drugs that lower your blood pressure may result in it becoming too low.

Can it aid weight loss?

Evidence has shown that moringa extract can be effective in reducing and controlling weight gain in mice. Its high vitamin B content helps with smooth and efficient digestion and can assist the body when converting food into energy, as opposed to storing it as fat.

Moringa is thought of:

  • reduce weight gain
  • help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • prevent inflammation
  • help the body convert fats into energy
  • reduce fatigue and improve energy levels

What are the studies saying?

 Like all supplements, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor moringa so there might be concerns about purity or quality. It is essential to understand the validity of the claims made by the manufacturers, whether it is safe to use, and what potential side effects there may be.

There is plenty of recent research to back up the benefits as stated above, though many of the studies are still in the preliminary stages or the tests have only taken place on animals as opposed to humans, so there is plenty more to be done.

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Health Benefits of Organic Greater Celandine

Chelidonium majus, or greater celandine, has a long history of use in many European countries. Ancient Greeks, Pliny the Elder and Dioscorides all called celandine an effective detoxifying agent. The Romans used celandine as a blood cleanser. The French herbalist Maurice Mességué cited celandine tea for help with liver problems.

Its use also extends to traditional Chinese medicine, and it’s become an important part of western phytotherapy. Extracts of greater celandine have exhibited a broad spectrum of toxicity to harmful organisms as well as liver protecting activity. This has led to the inclusion of greater celandine in liver and gallbladder cleansing and support protocols.

Benefits of Greater Celandine

Greater celandine extract has strong antioxidant potential, specifically from the alkaloid and flavonoid components. The greatest content of the beneficial alkaloids has been found in the root, sometimes achieving 2-3% concentrations. This has prompted greater celandine to be included in preparations designed to support the biliary tract and liver, such as Livatrex®, our enhanced blend of herbs that help detoxify and support the normal function of the liver and gallbladder.

Greater celandine extract has been shown to support bile production. Extra bile helps the body’s digestion processes perform more effectively, specifically by breaking down fat and facilitating toxin removal.

Greater celandine contains chelidonic acid, which has been found to relieve discomfort and be aggressive against certain harmful organisms. In one study, chelidonic acid was found to temper indications of ulcerative colitis and provided the foreground for examination into greater celandine’s therapeutic role in relieving other intestinal irritation.

Defense Against Harmful Organisms

The School of Stomatology at China Medical University studied the effects of greater celandine extract on streptococcus; researchers noted significant activity against harmful organisms. The University of Milan in Italy also found greater celandine extracts and isolated compounds to exhibit significant activity against harmful organisms.

The Department of Tropical and Subtropical Crops at Czech University in the Czech Republic tested the activity of extracts from 16 Siberian plants against five species of microorganisms. Greater celandine was among the five plants shown to have the highest activity.

Considerations

The preliminary reports really provide a positive glimpse into the potential for greater celandine. As always, consult your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, especially if a history of liver disease exists in your family. A few reports have been passed around of some people experiencing liver problems as a result of very large amounts; however, these reports are anecdotal. Regardless, if you’re pregnant or nursing, avoid greater celandine for the time being.

Health Benefits of Butterbur

Butterbur has a plant extract used in alternative remedies. But what are its health benefits and are there any risks involved in using it?

Butterbur comes from a shrub that grows in Europe, Asia, and parts of North America, and is available as a natural remedy in many health food stores and pharmacies. It is most commonly used to treat migraines and hay fever, although it has a number of other potential uses.

What is butterbur?

Butterbur plant and flower.
Butterbur extract comes from the bulb, leaf, and roots of the plant.

The proper name for the butterbur plant is petasites hybridus. It grows best in wet marshland, damp forest soil, or on riverbanks.

The name butterbur is thought to come from the fact that its large leaves were traditionally used to wrap butter and stop it from melting in summer.

Butterbur extract is taken from the leaf, roots, or bulb of the plant.

The use of butterbur to treat ailments can be traced back to the Middle Ages when it was used to fight the plague. Over the centuries it has been used to treat a range of conditions, including:

  • wounds
  • coughs
  • asthma

Today it is most commonly used to treat:

  • headaches and migraines
  • allergies, such as hay fever
  • upset stomachs
  • urinary tract infections

Uses of butterbur

This section explores the modern day uses of butterbur and the scientific evidence available to support them.

Migraines

Butterbur may be able to treat the symptoms of migraines and may make attacks less frequent.

The most popular use of butterbur is in the treatment of migraines and headaches. Scientific research shows that this use is well-founded.

2011 review found butterbur to be a safe and effective treatment for migraines, especially at high doses.

Researchers noted that the exact way butterbur works to relieve migraines is unknown. However, they believe it has to do with the anti-inflammatory effects of the active components.

A 2012 review conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society found that butterbur is effective for migraine prevention.

The review recommends that butterbur should be offered to people who experience migraines to reduce the frequency and severity of their attacks.

Hay fever

Butterbur is often used to treat allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever.

2007 review of existing studies found that there is encouraging evidence that suggests butterbur may help to treat seasonal allergic rhinitis.

However, the review called for further studies to be done to confirm the findings because three of the trials that found butterbur to improve allergic rhinitis symptoms were funded by a company that manufactured butterbur products.

Upset stomachs

Some people use butterbur to treat stomach upsets and find it to be effective. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this use.

2011 review noted that studies have found that butterbur may actually cause stomach problems. Researchers found that problems with digestion, such as belching, were a side-effect of taking butterbur.

More research is needed to support the claim that butterbur is an effective treatment for an upset stomach.

Urinary tract infections

As the active chemicals in butterbur help reduce spasms and inflammation, some people believe butterbur could help treat urinary tract infections.

However, there is not sufficient scientific evidence to support the claim that butterbur can combat urinary tract infections.

How butterbur works

Butterbur contains two chemicals called petasin and isopetasin. These chemicals help to reduce spasms and inflammation. It is the action of these chemicals that are thought to give butterbur its health benefits.

Butterbur is sold in a number of forms, including:

  • extracts
  • capsules
  • powders
  • tinctures
  • gels

There are several things to consider before deciding to take butterbur. As with any natural remedy, it is a good idea for an individual to speak to a doctor to check how butterbur may interact with any existing medications they may be taking.

Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate the quality or sale of butterbur, so a person should always buy natural remedies from a reputable source.

Check the label

Depending on how they are prepared, butterbur remedies may contain chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs). These are known to damage the liver and can cause serious illness.

Teas and other raw or unprocessed butterbur products are likely to contain PAs and should be avoided.

It is only safe to take butterbur products that are certified as “PA-free,” as these products have been processed in a way that removes the dangerous chemicals.

Be aware of side effects

While most people tolerate butterbur well, some may experience side effects. Side effects can include:

  • headaches
  • itchy eyes
  • diarrhea
  • breathing difficulties
  • fatigue
  • drowsiness

Avoid if sensitive to plants

Butterbur may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive or allergic to other plants and plant products. In these cases, it should be avoided.

Avoid long-term use

While studies have looked at the short-term use of butterbur, there are no studies that look at long-term use of the plant. Consequently, it is not known if long-term butterbur use is safe.

It is best to take butterbur only to provide short-term relief.

Using “PA-free” natural remedies containing butterbur is safe for most people, but a person should still use caution and research the brand and potential side effects. Some people may experience mild side effects, especially if they have a sensitivity to plants.

Butterbur has been shown to be effective in treating migraines. The evidence of its use to treat hay fever is encouraging, but research is ongoing.

Based on current research, there is little evidence to support the use of butterbur to treat other ailments.

Health Benefits of Fennel Tea

In the Middle Ages, on Midsummer’s night, people hung fennel over doorways to protect the household from evil spirits.

Although it is no longer used as a protective decoration, fennel is still one of the more widely used medicinal plants, being suggested for everything from colic to conjunctivitis.

The benefits of fennel tea are both culinary and curative. Fennel is used in many different cuisines, from Indian to Italian, to contemporary fusion, and all parts of the plant are used, including the leaves, seeds, and bulb.

Fast facts on fennel:

  • The Latin name for fennel is foeniculum vulgare.
  • The ancient Greeks and Romans thought fennel could bring strength and fortitude and lead to longer life.
  • The benefits of fennel tea are very similar to those derived from fennel seeds.

What is fennel?

Fennel tea in clear mug, with fennel seed in a bowl and wooden spoon, and a caraway flower,
Fennel tea has long been enjoyed for its flavor, though many choose to drink it for its purported health benefits.

Native to the Mediterranean region, fennel is now found all over the world, and its uses are as numerous as the places in which it grows.

Flavorful and fragrant, fennel is used in the following ways:

  • as a spice
  • eaten raw
  • dried
  • braised
  • grilled
  • shaved
  • stewed

It has a distinctive licorice-like flavor and is used in salads, sausages, ice cream, cookies, alcoholic beverages, pasta dishes, and more.

The history of fennel

Emperor Charlemagne was so taken with fennel that he brought the flowering plant to Europe and grew it on his estates.

Through the ages, many health claims have been made for fennel, and drinking fennel tea is an established practice in traditional medicine throughout the world.

Although Western science has not verified all these benefits, humans have used fennel to:

  • relieve flatulence
  • encourage urination
  • boost metabolism
  • treat hypertension
  • improve eyesight
  • prevent glaucoma
  • regulate appetite
  • clear mucus from the airways
  • stimulate milk production in nursing women
  • speed digestion
  • reduce gas
  • reduce stress
  • detoxify the body

Health benefits

Fennel seeds in a tea strainer over a mug of herbal tea.
Fennel tea may aid healthy digestion, and treat bloating, gas, or cramps, and may also act as a diuretic.

According to herbalists, fennel seed is an effective aid to digestion. It can help the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal system relax and reduce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.

In fact, tinctures or teas made from fennel seeds can be used to treat stomach muscle spasms caused by irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other conditions affecting the gastrointestinal system.

Fennel may also be used in combination with other herbal remedies to modify the side effects of herbal formulas used as laxatives, or other treatments for digestive problems.

1. Painful periods

Painful periods or dysmenorrhoea are a common problem for many women, who often use over-the-counter medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat the pain.

However, roughly 10-20 percent of women who suffer from severe cramping and discomfort during their period do not find relief through this approach.

Many turn to alternative or complementary treatments instead, and a 2012 study suggested that fennel can be helpful in this regard.

Researchers speculate that fennel helps keep the uterus from contracting, which is what prompts the pain reported by women with dysmenorrhea.

2. Colic

One of the significant benefits of fennel is its anti-spasmodic qualities. Because of this, some people believe that fennel tea may also play a role in reducing the symptoms of colic in infants.

3. Regulating blood sugar

Many herbalists and complementary healthcare practitioners recommend fennel tea as a way to regulate blood sugar.

study in Bangladesh, in which mice were treated with an extract made from mentholated fennel seeds, found that, at some dosage levels, this extract reduced blood glucose levels at a rate comparable to that of standard antihyperglycemic medications.

4. Pain relief

Fennel is also considered helpful for pain relief. The same study from Bangladesh found that fennel extract reduced indications of pain at a level close to that provided by aspirin.

5. Hydration

Staying well hydrated is important for overall health, so one of the more direct benefits of fennel tea is that it provides individuals with a tasty, caffeine-free beverage.

Fennel tea or fennel extract?

Extract of fennel seeds is not the same thing as fennel tea. Fennel tea is less processed and more likely to be pure; and the measurable, beneficial impacts of fennel tea suggest multiple reasons for drinking it. The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) do not monitor supplements and extracts of herbs.

Also, some people simply find fennel tea delicious.

Studies on fennel benefits

Fennel on a wooden table, with a small bottle of fennel oil and some seed in a larger jar.
The essential oils derived from fennel seeds have a range of potentially beneficial properties.

Although most of the health claims made for fennel and fennel tea are based on traditional medicine, some scientific, medical studies have identified specific drug-like qualities of the plant, particularly its essential oils, which may promote health.

Studies have found that fennel tea benefits linked to fennel’s essential oils include:

  • reducing the formation of blood clots
  • increasing milk secretion and supporting the female reproductive system
  • acting as an antioxidant
  • antibacterial effects
  • antifungal activity
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • anti-diabetic
  • controlling dust mites

Researchers found that ground fennel seeds in solution were effective against bacteria that cause indigestion, diarrhea, and dysentery, as well as some hospital-acquired infections.

According to one study, fennel was effective at collecting free radicals, which cause disease. This suggested fennel extracts could be used to help individuals ward off the effects of many chronic diseases and dangerous health conditions, including cancer, hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis, and inflammation.

While even the most committed natural care providers are not claiming that drinking a cup of fennel tea could be like taking a dip in the Fountain of Youth, this research suggests that the compounds found in fennel could help buffer the effects of ageing.

Who should avoid fennel tea?

Fennel is considered fairly mild, although some people may be allergic to it. It is also possible to overdose on the extracted oils found in fennel.

Some studies have found that fennel has an estrogenic effect, which means that it mimics the effects of estrogen. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not drink fennel tea. People with cancers that are sensitive to estrogen should also avoid the use of fennel.

Estragole, a key element in fennel, has been identified as a potential carcinogen, so individuals with cancer, or at a high-risk for the disease, are urged to limit their use of fennel tea, or avoid it altogether.

 

Health Benefits of Turmeric Tea

Turmeric is a popular spice made from the rhizome or root of the Curcuma longa plant.

Turmeric is native to Southeast Asia and is a member of the Zingiberaceae or ginger family. It has been used as a herbal remedy for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

India grows 78 percent of the global supply of turmeric. In this article, we look at a range of potential health benefits.

Fast facts on turmeric tea:

  • The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin.
  • Curcumin gives turmeric its characteristic yellow color.
  • Curcumin is proven to have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.

What is turmeric tea?

turmeric tea
The most effective way to consume turmeric may be as a tea.

Curcumin has low bioavailability, which means the body has a hard time accessing and absorbing the compound. For this reason, turmeric supplements, with their guaranteed high concentrations of curcumin, are popular.

Turmeric tea, brewed using grated turmeric root or pure powder, is considered one of the most effective ways to consume the spice.

There is no specific recommended daily intake of turmeric. Based on available research, the suggested daily intake depends largely on the condition it is being used to treat.

Most research in adults supports the safe use of 400 to 600 milligrams (mg) of pure turmeric powder three times daily, or 1 to 3 grams (g) daily of grated or dried turmeric root. Grating the turmeric yourself is the best way to ensure a pure product.

Nine potential benefits of turmeric tea

Drinking turmeric tea is believed to bring about several benefits, nine of which are described in more detail here.

1. Reduces arthritis symptoms

As an anti-inflammatory, curcumin may help reduce the most prominent symptoms of arthritis.

2017 study found that out of 206 American adults with self-reported rheumatoid arthritis, 63 percent used non-vitamin supplements to manage their symptoms, with turmeric being the most popular product that was taken.

2. Boosts immune function

Curcumin is proven to improve immune function with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties.

Curcumin has also been shown to act as an immune modulator, helping regulate immune cell function against cancer.

3. Help reduce cardiovascular complications

Several studies have shown curcumin to have beneficial heart health properties by acting as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

A 2012 study found that taking 4 g per day of curcumin 3 days before and 5 days after coronary artery bypass grafting surgery, reduced the risk of acute myocardial infarction or heart attack by 17 percent.

4. Helps prevent and treat cancer

One of the most clinically established therapeutic properties of curcumin is its anti-cancer action.

As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, curcumin is thought to lower the risk of cells in the body becoming damaged, reducing the risk of cell mutations and cancer.

Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that curcumin has anti-tumor properties, limiting the growth of tumors and spread of cancerous cells.

According to a 2014 medical review, more than 2,000 articles have been published using the keywords “curcumin” and “cancer.” The use of curcumin as a cancer treatment alongside chemotherapy and radiation therapy is currently being investigated.

5. Helps manage irritable bowel syndrome or IBS

Curcumin has long been used in traditional medicines as a treatment for many digestive conditions.

Several studies have found that curcumin may help reduce the pain associated with IBS and improve the quality of life of those people with the condition.

2012 study in rats found that curcumin helped decrease the time it took for food to empty from the stomach to the small intestine, otherwise known as gastric emptying.

6. Prevents and treats Alzheimer’s

Studies have shown that curcumin may help reduce the chances of several neurodegenerative conditions. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers are thought to reduce cellular damage, inflammation, and amyloid deposits or plaques that occur with these conditions.

Curcumin may also be able to slow down or prevent some of the age-associated protein changes linked to neurodegeneration.

7. Protects against liver damage, gallstones, and manages liver conditions

Several studies have shown that curcumin can protect against liver damage. Potential liver and gallbladder benefits of curcumin include increasing production of the digestive fluid bile while also protecting liver cells from damage from bile-associated chemicals.

8. Helps prevent and manage diabetes

Traditional medicines have used turmeric for diabetes for thousands of years. Several studies using animal and human models have shown that curcumin supplementation may have anti-diabetes properties.

9. Helps treat and manage lung conditions

Researchers suspect that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin may help reduce the symptoms of chronic or long-lasting lung conditions.

2017 medical review concluded that although the clinical evidence is limited, curcumin might help treat asthma, pulmonary and cystic fibrosis, lung cancer or injury, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How to prepare turmeric tea

turmeric powder on a plate
To make a turmeric tea, a person can add ground, grated, or powdered turmeric to boiling water.

Turmeric tea can be prepared from either pure turmeric powder or grated or ground, dried turmeric. Fermented turmeric preparations, commonly sold as tea products, claim to have higher concentrations of biologically available or absorbable curcumin.

The steps to follow for making turmeric tea are:

  • boil 4 cups of water
  • add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground, grated, or powdered turmeric
  • allow the mixture to simmer for approximately 10 minutes
  • strain the tea into a container and allow it to cool for 5 minutes

Many people put additional ingredients into their turmeric tea to improve the taste or help with its absorption. Common additives include:

  • Honey, to sweeten the tea and give the mixture more anti-microbial properties.
  • Whole milk, cream, almond milk, coconut milk, or 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee (unclarified butter) to help with absorption, as curcumin requires healthy fats to dissolve properly.
  • Black pepper, which contains piperine, a chemical known to help promote curcumin absorption, and that can add a spicy flavor to the tea.
  • Lemon, lime, or ginger, to enhance antioxidant and antimicrobial properties in the mixture and improve taste.

Rhodiola Rosea

Benefits, Side Effects

Rhodiola Rosea is a flowering herb that grows in cold, high-altitude regions of Europe and Asia. Other names for it include arctic root, golden root, king’s crown, and roseroot.

Rhodiola Rosea has been used in traditional medicine for many years, particularly in Russia, Scandinavia, and other cold, mountainous areas. Some people believe the herb can treat anxiety, depression, fatigue, anemia, and headaches.

Numerous studies have been conducted on the plant. While some results appear promising, many of the studies have been small, biased, or flawed. As such, experts say more research needs to be done to determine how Rhodiola Rosea is effective, and whether it should be included in treatment plans.

Meanwhile, Rhodiola Rosea has a low risk of side effects and appears to offer some benefits for many of these conditions. Therefore, it may be a natural option that is worth trying for its supposed uses.

Possible health benefits and evidence

The evidence for Rhodiola Rosea’s health claims varies. The following are some of its popular uses and what research says about each one. The health benefits of this herbal root are probably linked to anti-inflammatory properties it may have.

Stress

Rhodiola rosea flowering herb on a board
Rhodiola Rosea is a flowering herb that has been used in traditional medicine for many years.

One of the best-known claims about Rhodiola Rosea is its power as a substance that helps the body adapt to stress, otherwise known as an adaptogen.

Its specific abilities and qualities, however, have not yet been scientifically proven with enough well-designed studies.

A report published in Alternative Medicine Review found that Rhodiola Rosea shows promise as an adaptogen. Based on evidence from several small studies, the author states that the plant’s extracts provide benefits for mental health and heart function.

Another 2005 article describes Rhodiola Rosea as “a versatile adaptogen,” stating that the herb can increase resistance to stress. In particular, the authors state that it holds promise as a possible treatment for reducing stress hormone levels and stress-induced heart problems.

Physical and mental performance

Some people take Rhodiola Rosea to enhance physical performance before exercise or as a way to improve concentration and thinking. There are also claims that it helps reduce physical and mental fatigue.

A number of studies touch on these claims. They include the following:

  • A review that states Rhodiola Rosea may hold promise as an aid for enhanced physical and mental performance. The authors conclude that more research on the plant is needed to further examine and prove its effects.
  • A study in 2009 found that women who took a high dose of Rhodiola Rosea were able to run faster than those who got a placebo. The study examined 15 college-age women.
  • Another study suggests that taking a standardized extract of Rhodiola Rosea may improve concentration and reduce fatigue. The research looked at 60 men and women, who took an extract called SHR-5. The dosage given for these effects was 576 milligrams (mg) per day.

Despite these results, a large 2012 review published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked at 206 studies on Rhodiola Rosea and fatigue but found only 11 were suitable to include.

Five of these trials determined that Rhodiola Rosea helped with symptoms of physical and mental fatigue. But, the reviewers state, all of the studies had a high risk of bias or had reporting flaws with an unknown bias.

The reviewers conclude that research on Rhodiola Rosea is “contradictory and inconclusive.” They recommend a non-biased, valid trial of the herb before it is put forward as a treatment for fatigue.

Depression and anxiety

One study found evidence to suggest that Rhodiola Rosea may reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Ten people were included in this study, and they took 340 mg of Rhodiola Rosea extract for 10 weeks.

Another study in Phytomedicine found that Rhodiola Rosea reduced symptoms of depression, but its effects were mild. The herb did not reduce symptoms as effectively as sertraline, a prescription antidepressant, although it had fewer and milder side effects.

The authors of this 2015 study concluded that, as it may be better tolerated by some people and did provide benefit, Rhodiola Rosea may be suitable as a treatment for mild to moderate depression. The study included 57 people who took the herb for 12 weeks.

Stress-induced eating disorders

An active ingredient in Rhodiola Rosea known as salidroside was studied for its effects on binge eating. This study, published in Physiology & Behavior, was done using rats. It found that a dry extract of Rhodiola Rosea that included 3.12 percent salidroside did help reduce or eliminate binge eating in the animals.

The rats that took Rhodiola Rosea also had lower blood levels of a stress hormone that may play a role in binge eating.

Another study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, similarly conducted on rats, determined that Rhodiola Rosea may reduce stress-induced anorexia. The authors say their findings provide evidence to support claims that the herb has anti-stress properties.

How is it taken?

Rhodiola rosea tea
Rhodiola Rosea is available in many forms. Any side effects experienced will likely be mild.

Like many herbs, Rhodiola Rosea is available in the form of capsules, tablets, dried powder, and liquid extract.

The dosage and amount of extract vary between brands and product types.

Herbs and supplements are regulated as food, not drugs, by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As a result, knowing what dose to take and how much is included in the product is not always clear. There may also be issues with quality or purity.

Although some studies have listed dosages used for specific purposes, it appears that the herb may be taken at different strengths to treat different problems. In the Alternative Medicine Review article, the author says the dosage may vary, depending on how much-standardized extract it contains.

Rosavin, in particular, is one of the compounds named as having an effect on reducing stress. The author of the review suggests approximately:

  • 360-600 mg daily of an extract standardized for 1 percent rosavin
  • 180-300 mg of an extract standardized for 2 percent rosavin
  • 100-170 mg for an extract standardized for 3.6 percent rosavin

Risks and side effects

Though its therapeutic effects have yet to be proven, the studies on Rhodiola Rosea all seem to agree that any side effects are mild.

Side effects have included:

  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • sleep problems
  • jitteriness

Jitteriness is a particular problem among those prone to anxiety who take higher doses of the supplement.

As it has a mild stimulant-type effect, Rhodiola Rosea is not recommended for people who have bipolar disorder or who are taking other stimulants.

One article suggests that people can take the herb on an empty stomach 30 minutes before breakfast and lunch. Avoiding it in the evening may help reduce sleep problems at night.

Rhodiola Rosea has a long tradition of being used to help increase stamina, concentration, and mental well-being.

Large, valid studies on these effects are lacking. However, the herb’s low risk of side effects makes it an attractive option for people looking to improve their health in these specific areas.

As with any supplement, it is best for people to speak with a doctor before taking it.

Problems such as fatigue and trouble concentrating can sometimes be symptoms of an underlying health condition that needs treatment. Likewise, depression and anxiety can be serious mental health conditions that require the care of a doctor.

Health and Beauty Benefits of Grapeseed Oil

Fast facts on grapeseed oil. Here are some key points about grapeseed oil. More detail is in the main article.

  • Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids.
  • The oil can be used in hair and on the skin as part of your beauty regimen.
  • Buy expeller- or cold-pressed oil for use in the kitchen.

Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of winemaking. After the wine is made by pressing grapes, grape seeds are left behind. Grapeseed oil is extracted from these leftover grape seeds. Grapeseed oil is used as a natural beauty product. It’s also marketed as a healthy alternative to vegetable oil.

Is grapeseed oil safe to consume?

The health benefits of grapeseed oil are controversial. Part of this controversy is because of how the oil is processed. Most commercially available grapeseed oil is made using chemical solvents like hexane. Hexane is classified as an air pollutant and neurotoxin.

It’s unclear what effect consuming these solvents has on humans in trace amounts. During processing, grapeseed oil may also be heated to very high temperatures which may oxidize the oil and make it go bad.

Grapeseed oil that’s cold-pressed or expeller-pressed does not use chemical solvents or high heat during processing. It’s a better choice than oil made with solvents.

Health benefits of grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), mostly omega-6 fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association, PUFAs may be beneficial to your heart if they’re used in place of saturated fats and trans fats in your diet.

Research shows that PUFAS may reduce cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. But there’s a catch: Optimal health depends on the proper balance of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids in your body. Most people get more than enough omega-6 fatty acids in their diet and not nearly enough omega-3s.

Studies show that too much omega-6 fatty acid may cause inflammation that may lead to chronic diseases, including cancer. If you’re already getting enough Omega-6 in your diet, regularly consuming grapeseed oil may put your omega-6 intake at unhealthy levels.

Vitamin E

Grapeseed oil is a good source of vitamin E, even more so than olive oil. Vitamin E is a vitamin that works as a fat-soluble antioxidant, which helps protect your cells from damaging free radicals that have been associated with cancer, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. Vitamin E also supports your immune system. Research shows it may slow the progression of dementia, but more study is needed.

Vitamin E can withstand heat, and grapeseed oil has a high smoke point. But any cooking oil will deteriorate fast if overheated. Whenever possible, use cold-pressed or expeller-pressed grapeseed oil raw in your recipes.

Beauty benefits of grapeseed oil

Beauty companies use grapeseed oil in their skin care and hair care products. But there are no clinical studies on the effectiveness of grapeseed oil on the skin or hair. Even so, many people use grapeseed oil as a natural remedy in their at-home beauty arsenal.

Grapeseed oil for healthy skin

Many of grapeseed oil’s beauty benefits may be due to its vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acid content. Free radicals and environmental factors such as sun, wind, and pollution can do a number on your skin. They may increase the signs of aging and cause dry skin and discoloration.

Vitamin E helps battles free radicals so it may help improve your skin when consumed in your diet. The same benefits may apply when it’s applied directly to your skin in the form of grapeseed oil.

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to skin function and appearance. And omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for skin barrier functioning. The main omega-6 PUFA in grapeseed oil is linolenic acid. This fatty acid may help reduce inflammation in the skin’s middle and outer layers.

Other reasons grapeseed oil is used are to:

  • moisturize skin
  • heal acne
  • lighten skin
  • tighten pores
  • reduce the appearance of scars
  • remove makeup

Grapeseed oil penetrates your skin quickly and doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily. To use grapeseed oil on your face, massage several drops into clean skin before you go to bed at night. You can repeat the process in the morning if desired. Since grapeseed oil doesn’t clog pores, it’s ideal for all skin types, including oily skin that needs moisturizing.

Grapeseed oil for healthy hair

Grapeseed oil may improve the condition of your hair and scalp. If you have dandruff, which is often caused by a dry scalp, applying emollient grapeseed oil to your scalp can help loosen dead skin and restore moisture.

Some natural oils including olive oil and coconut oil are good for your hair, but they leave it feeling greasy and weighed down. Grapeseed oil is lightweight and doesn’t have that effect. When applied to your hair, grapeseed oil adds moisture, strength, and shine.

Try massaging a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed oil (using more or less, depending on the length of your hair) into your hair and scalp before shampooing.

Grapeseed oil is used as a natural remedy for baldness. Linolenic acid is thought to stimulate hair growth. The oil contains flavonoids called procyanidin oligomers. These are powerful antioxidants. In vitro and in vivo studies show procyanidin oligomers may induce hair growth, but more research is needed.

Grapeseed oil in aromatherapy

Chronic stress wreaks internal and external havoc on your body. It may lead to:

  • premature aging
  • rashes
  • dry skin
  • acne
  • hair loss

While grapeseed oil on its own can’t relieve stress, it does make a wonderful carrier oil for aromatherapy and aromatherapy massage. Aromatherapy may help relieve anxiety and reduce stress.

Cold-pressed or expeller-pressed grapeseed oil can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. It has a neutral flavor and works well with many recipes. Grapeseed oil may also help keep your skin younger looking and your hair stronger and more luxurious. There are no known side effects of consuming grapeseed oil, but people who are allergic to grapes shouldn’t use it.

Natural products have the potential to cause an allergic reaction when used on the skin. Contact your doctor if you experience redness, itching, rash, or your condition worsens.

12 Potential Health Benefits Of Eleuthero

Eleuthero is a plant that has been traditionally used as an immune system booster and a general stimulant.

Sometimes known as Siberian ginseng, eleuthero is native to Japan, northern China, southeastern Russia, South Korea, and North Korea.

What is Eleuthero?

There is evidence that eleuthero was first used as an herbal remedy in China some 2,000 years ago.

The plant is mostly used in traditional medicines as an adaptogen, a compound that helps the body better handle and adapt to stress. Eleuthero also acts as a stimulant, increasing nervous system function.

Although they have similar benefits and usages, eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus and Acanthopanax senticosus) is not related to American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) or true ginseng (Panax ginseng.)

12 potential health benefits

Eleuthero fruit RESIZE
Eleuthero bears fruit that can be eaten raw.

In traditional and herbal medicines, eleuthero is used to treat dozens of different health conditions.

However, the number of advantages tested and proven in animals and humans is far less. Most of the more established benefits of eleuthero still have unclear or conflicting evidence.

Potential health benefits of eleuthero include:

1. Increasing energy and reducing fatigue

As a stimulant, eleuthero boosts energy levels and contains compounds known to help overcome exhaustion and prevent its side effects.

One study found that eleuthero consumption significantly increased the exhaustion point of swimming mice by lessening the build up of lactic acid and blood urea nitrogen, in addition to increasing fat utilization.

2. Improving cognitive function

By increasing circulation, eleuthero may increase blood flow to the brain, improving mental functions such as memory and concentration.

3. Managing cancer

Panax ginseng has been shown to have anti-cancer or anti-tumor properties.

Research suggests eleuthero may have similar properties, especially in cases of lung cancer, but this claim requires more research.

4. Enhancing exercise

As a stimulant, eleuthero may increase the ability of muscles to do work, especially during periods of intense physical activity.

One study found that consuming 800 milligrams (mg) of eleuthero a day for 8 weeks increased a male subject’s endurance time by 23 percent, peak oxygen saturation by 12 percent, and highest heart rate by 3 percent.

5. Healing wounds and preventing ulcers

By boosting the immune system, eleuthero may improve or speed up the healing process.

Compounds in eleuthero have also been shown to prevent the formation of ulcers, including diabetic foot ulcers.

6. Increasing low blood pressure

As a stimulant, eleuthero increases circulation and heart rate and may raise blood pressure over time.

This may be beneficial for people with low blood pressure but can cause risks for people with hypertension.

7. Reducing osteoporosis

In several traditional medicines, eleuthero is used to increase muscle and bone strength.

In a 2013 study, rats given 100 mg of eleuthero daily for 8 weeks saw a 16.7 percent increase in femur bone density.

8. Managing menopause

Extracts of eleuthero and eleutherosides are known to bind to estrogen receptor sites.

Eleuthero may, therefore, lessen the effects of estrogen withdrawal in women who are experiencing menopause. For this reason, women with estrogen-driven cancer may need to consult their doctor before consuming eleuthero.

9. Reducing or limiting respiratory tract infections

As an immune stimulant, eleuthero may shorten the length and severity of lung infections, such as influenza and pneumonia.

10. Improving lymphatic function

Eleutherosides have been shown to improve the lymphatic function of the lymph node network, meaning they may reduce edema. Edema is swelling caused by a build up of fluid.

2016 study found eleuthero powder significantly reduced edema within 2 and 4 hours after consumption in 50 healthy volunteers.

11. Preventing and repairing nerve damage

Several studies have shown that eleutherosides may help prevent and repair nerve damage.

Eleuthero has been explored, as a potential preventative or management medication for progressive neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

One study found that eleuthero improved nerve regeneration and synapse reformation in rats with nerve damage.

12. Lowering or stabilizing blood sugar levels

Eleutherosides have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and are being considered for the management of type 2 diabetes.

A 2013 study found that 480 mg per day of eleuthero significantly lowered fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels in subjects with type 2 diabetes.

Buying Considerations

Eleuthero extracts are made using the plant’s bark, stems, leaves, or roots.

Eleuthero powder
Eleuthero is available as a powder.

The herb is sold in the form of capsules, tablets, a liquid or tincture, and as a powder.

It can also be used whole, and the herb’s dried leaves and stems can be boiled to make a tea. The plant’s fresh fruit may also be eaten raw.

Although it can be sold alone, eleuthero is also commonly found in multivitamins and tonics aimed at boosting immune function, increasing energy levels, and promoting vitality.

As with most herbal supplements, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the production, marketing, or sale of eleuthero. Therefore, a person should check the ingredients in products labeled as ginseng before buying or using them.

Eleutherosides, in particular, eleutheroside B, is usually the main bioactive ingredient, and a pharmacist should be able to recommend appropriate products that contain this.

How to use eleuthero

There is no standard recommended dosage for eleuthero. How the herb is used depends on the formula, form, and the benefit being sought.

The herb is not considered safe for use in children. For people over the age of 18, typical dosage and other recommendations include:

  • take between 300- and 1,200-mg daily, not exceeding 3- to 6-grams
  • take in the morning to avoid disrupting the sleep cycle
  • take doses between meals
  • take the supplement for no more than 6 weeks continuously followed by at least a 2-3 week break

It is important to talk with a doctor before taking herbal supplements. It can be helpful to take the bottle or product packaging for reference.

Health complications and risks

Herbal products can react with certain medications, causing a negative reaction or decreasing the effect of the medication. Also, herbal products may not be safe for people with certain health conditions.

Potential side effects of eleuthero usage include:

  • increased risk of sudden bleeding and hemorrhage
  • raised or lowered blood pressure
  • increased or reduced blood sugar levels
  • hormone changes, especially of cortisol
  • hives and contact dermatitis or skin rashes
  • gastrointestinal problems, including diarrhea, nausea, and cramping
  • muscle spasms
  • nerve pain
  • cold extremities
  • nervousness or aggressiveness
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • confusion

Medications, health conditions, and consumables that increase the risk of side effects with eleuthero or require medical monitoring include:

  • bleeding disorders or conditions
  • medications that affect bleeding, such as heparin, warfarin (Coumadin®), and over-the-counter pain medications, including aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen
  • liver medications
  • heart failure medications, such as digoxin
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Hormone-regulating medications
  • anti-allergy medications
  • psychiatric or mental conditions
  • antidepressants
  • alcohol
  • radiotherapy
  • sedatives
  • anti-seizure medications
  • steroids
  • pregnancy
  • diabetes and insulin use
  • antibiotics or antivirals
  • vasodilators
  • ginkgo biloba
  • saw palmetto
  • garlic

Bilberry Health Benefits

If you haven’t heard of bilberry fruit, you shouldn’t be surprised. The plant is extremely difficult to grow, and since it bears small fruit it is seldom cultivated. The fruit that does exist is primarily from wild plants that grow throughout northern and central Europe where they are more plentiful. In fact, it’s often called European blueberry.

For comparison, bilberries are similar to blueberries and huckleberries, but smaller and with a fuller taste. Like most natural foods, there are a number of health benefits associated with this berry, the most notable being an improvement in eye health. British pilots during World War II actually ate bilberry jam before night raids in order to improve their vision.

Bilberry for Natural Eye Health

When you take a closer look at the berry, this bit of war lore is not too surprising. According to the book “100 Super Supplements for a Longer Life,” by Frank Murray, bilberry health benefits include protecting collagen structures found in the eyes. Bilberry can also prevent and treat macular degeneration and retinopathy. The anthocyanosides found in bilberry are known for their ability to help nourish and repair the tiny capillaries within the eye.

Bilberry for Cardiovascular Health

While eye health is a top benefit of bilberry, the benefits don’t stop there. Bilberry is also used to help improve cardiovascular health. According to a paper on bilberry written for the Center for Holistic Pediatric Education and Research by Dr. Kathi Kemper, bilberry can improve circulation and protect against circulatory-related disease. Dr. Kemper suggests that bilberry can also improve atherosclerosis and varicose veins. In addition, the bilberry bioflavonoids are beneficial to the connective tissue that lines blood vessels and binds ligaments throughout the body.

Bilberry as an Antioxidant

The plant is also an excellent source of antioxidants containing both anthocyanosides and Vitamin C. These antioxidants work to repair and reverse damage to cells from free radicals.

Natural Health Benefits of Bilberry

Historically, the berry has been credited with a number of health benefits including:

  • strengthening blood vessels
  • improving red blood cells
  • stabilizing collagen tissues
  • lowering cholesterol
  • increasing retinal pigments
  • lowering blood pressure
  • improving eyesight
  • improving night vision
  • preventing cataracts
  • anti-aging effects on collagen structures
  • soothing a sore throat
  • lowering blood sugar
  • lowering cholesterol levels
  • anticancer effects
  • blocking tumor growth

Traditionally, the leaves and the berries have been used to help with scurvy, urinary tract issues or challenges, kidney problems, and diarrhea.

How to Use Bilberry

There are a number of ways to consume this plant to take advantage of the many bilberry health benefits. In fact, in Poland, bilberries are put into sweet buns as a filling (such a bun is called a jagodzianka, and it is one of Poland’s most popular bakery products during summer). It can be harvested naturally from forests and eaten fresh in jams or other dishes. The fruit can also be dried, used in tea, or found in pill form.

For those without access to the fruit and looking to supplement, look for an extract standardized to 25% anthocyanins. 120 mg a day should suffice.

Belladonna

Despite being a very poisonous plant, people have used belladonna in many different ways throughout history.

While it has been used as a poison in the past, scientists today extract chemicals from belladonna for use in medicine. These chemicals, when used under a doctor’s supervision, can treat a range of afflictions, from excessive urination at night to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What is belladonna?

Belladonna plant
The belladonna plant may also be called deadly nightshade.

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna) is a poisonous plant, native to parts of Asia and Europe. It is sometimes known as deadly nightshade.

Belladonna produces small, black berries that must not be eaten. Eating the berries or leaves can be deadly. Similar to poison ivy, a person whose skin comes into direct contact with the leaves may develop a rash.

In ancient times, people used belladonna for its toxic properties, as an oral poison or on the tips of arrows.

Some scholars believe that Shakespeare referenced belladonna in his play, “Romeo and Juliet.” It is possible that Belladonna was the poison that Juliet drank to fake her death.

As time progressed, people used belladonna for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. For example, doctors used it as an antiseptic before surgery in medieval Europe.

During the Italian Renaissance, which lasted from the 14th to 16th century, fashionable women drank the juice of belladonna berries to dilate their pupils. Belladonna owes its name to this practice, as it means “beautiful woman” in Italian.

In modern times, optometrists often use belladonna to help dilate pupils when examining a person’s eyes.

Other recent uses of belladonna include over-the-counter creams and other herbal supplements. Despite its commercial availability, people are strongly advised to use belladonna with caution and under a doctor’s care.

belladonnaMedicinal uses

When used correctly in appropriate doses, belladonna is safe to use as part of regular medicinal practices.

It is important to note that ingesting even small amounts of the leaves or berries can be deadly. Small children and infants are, particularly at risk. Be sure to use caution when storing medicines that contain belladonna.

Scopolamine and atropine

Belladonna contains chemicals used to treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.

Belladonna contains two chemicals used for medicinal purposes.

The first chemical is scopolamine, which is used primarily for reducing body discharges. It is also helpful in reducing stomach acid, which can help with both nausea and acid reflux.

Scopolamine is also used for controlling the heart rate and relaxing muscles.

The second compound extracted from belladonna is atropine. Similar to scopolamine, atropine can be used to help reduce bodily discharge, but it is not as effective as scopolamine when used as a muscle relaxant and in heart rate control.

Also, atropine can be used to dilate the eyes. In some cases, atropine works as an antidote to insect poison and chemical warfare agents.

Once extracted, one or both chemicals are combined with other medications to help treat some diseases and conditions.

Some of the treatments target:

  • motion sickness
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • stomach ulcers
  • excessive nighttime urination
  • diverticulitis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • pink eye

When taken as part of a prescribed medication, belladonna is considered mostly safe. Like all medicines, it can have side effects, and people should consider its use very carefully.

As with any potentially harmful medication, it is best to speak to a doctor before using a product containing belladonna.

Alternative medication

Like many well-known plants and extracts, belladonna is available in some over-the-counter alternative medications and supplements.

Unlike traditional medicines, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements, which means they are often not tested for safety or the effectiveness of their claimed outcomes.

Companies that have made products containing belladonna state that it can improve various conditions. These include:

  • the common cold
  • fever
  • whooping cough
  • hay fever
  • earache
  • asthma
  • motion sickness
  • flu
  • a cough and sore throat
  • joint and back pain
  • arthritis pain
  • spasms, or colic-like pain in the stomach or bile ducts
  • nerve problems
  • gout
  • inflammation
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • hemorrhoids

Belladonna is an ingredient in creams, some liquids, ointments, and, in some cases, suppositories.

There is little research into belladonna’s effectiveness at treating any of the above conditions. It is important to consider the potential side effects before taking belladonna as a supplement.

Risks and side effects

Blurred vision and hallucinations are potential side effects of belladonna.

Belladonna is considered a toxic plant with historical uses as a poison. Despite being sold as an over-the-counter supplement, it is likely not safe to consume. It is also important to be aware that the FDA do not monitor the quality and purity of belladonna supplements.

There are some side effects to consider before using belladonna. These side effects include:

  • dry mouth
  • red, dry skin
  • inability to sweat
  • muscle spasms
  • blurred vision
  • enlarged pupils
  • hallucinations
  • inability to urinate
  • convulsions
  • seizures
  • coma

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be at additional risk, as some of the belladonna’s side effects may appear in the unborn child, and it might dry up milk production.

In addition to the side effects, belladonna may make some conditions worse. These include disorders that some manufacturers claim Belladonna helps.

Conditions that belladonna can make worse include:

  • acid reflux
  • fever
  • rapid heartbeat
  • gastrointestinal (GI) tract infections
  • high blood pressure
  • constipation
  • urination problems

Belladonna has negative interactions with certain medications as well, such as those for allergies and depression. Side effects of the interaction include a rapid heartbeat and rashes.

Outlook

Belladonna can be a safe herbal supplement or part of medication but only when used properly under a doctor’s care and supervision. There are a number of side effects that should be considered before using belladonna as a supplement.

Additional research needs to be conducted to test the effectiveness of belladonna alongside the risks. Individuals should carefully consider their options before trying belladonna as a replacement or supplemental treatment.